Simply put, an astral projection is an intentional out of body experience. And what, you might ask, is an out of body experience? It’s when the spiritual self separates from the physical self. Sometimes the former sees the latter from a third party’s perspective, creating a sense of total detachment from one’s body. Other times, an individual feels their entire self exit this plane of existence and enter another where lights, colors, and sensations they can’t fully describe wash over them. Most out of body experiences are involuntary and caused by traumatic situations, intense injuries, or near-death experiences; however, some believe it is possible to willfully disentangle your soul from your body, and doing so is known as astral projection.
Visualizing Astral Projection
In Marvel’s Doctor Strange (2016) the titular character journeys to Kathmandu in search of a cure for his ruined hands. He encounters a spiritual leader known as The Ancient One who teaches him how to astral project, although the term is never used in the film. Strange uses this newfound ability to read and study while his body is asleep and to fight other astral entities that seek to harm his physical self. Even though this film is a work of fiction, its imagery helps visualize and concretize the concept of astral projection. Strange’s astral self looks identical to his body except for the golden haze around it that differentiates it from his physical form. This image is in agreement with ancient illustrations and written descriptions of astral projection found in Chinese, Hindu, and Japanese traditions. These pictures and words suggest that the body and the soul look like one another because they are two halves of the same whole. And yet, one half is significantly more powerful than the other. Your body is limited to this plane of existence. But your soul doesn’t have to be. According to believers and practitioners of astral projection, your soul can travel to different dimensions if you untether it.
How can I Astral Project?
If what you’ve read so far has piqued your interest and you’d like to dabble in astral projection, here are a few steps from the International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology to get you started:
- Isolate yourself in a dark room
- Light a candle
- Relax in a chair and focus on the candle without letting your mind wander
- Reach for the light from the candle with your spiritual self and leave your physical self in the chair
If that doesn’t cut it for you, super chill YouTuber Joshua Tongol shares several ways to cause astral projection. In his video How to Astral Project, he advises viewers to visualize their soul leaving their body, listen to meditation recordings, and enter the hypnogogic state (the in-between, dreamlike state right before you fall asleep). Tongol says it’s crucial to remain calm once you’re in the hypnogogic state, otherwise you’ll snap out of it and ruin your opportunity for astral projection. The way that he personally astral projects is through the use of the Target Technique, in which he picks a person, object, or place that is far away and meaningful to him. He becomes so focused on the thing that he is unaware of his physical form and able to slip into the astral plane.
Why Astral Project?
There are many reasons why people choose to astral project. Some, like Joshua Tongol, do it recreationally to clear their minds and have a good time. Others have loftier goals; they astral project to increase their spirituality and learn more about the universe, hoping for glimpses that will reveal more about the afterlife and/or other planes of existence. Some individuals are less interested in other worlds than they are in the one they currently inhabit. Astral projectors have reported traveling to different cities and countries in spirit form while their physical body remained in their home. For people who aren’t able to physically travel, astral projection can be an escape and a way to see the world. Understandably, there was a surge in interest in astral projection when COVID-19 first struck and lockdowns were instituted. What do all of these motivations for astral projection have in common? A desire to take a break from reality. And speaking of reality…
Is there Scientific Evidence that Astral Projection is Real?
Honestly? No. Science is not kind to astral projection. Official studies and unofficial opinions from respected scientists and psychologists all say essentially the same thing—the recorded experiences of individuals who have astral projected are nothing more than dreams, delusions, and drug trips. But fear not! If you’re still yearning for astral projection and the freedom and adventure that come with it, there is something you can do. Something that creates similar sensations and has been scientifically proven to be real.
Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming
Ever heard of a lucid dream? During a lucid dream you tell yourself where to go and what to do. Awareness of current or potential surroundings, as well as control of thoughts and actions, are crucial to successful lucid dreaming. Sound familiar? Like astral projection, lucid dreaming allows you to go where you’ve never gone before and revisit places you can’t presently return to. It helps you process trauma. It frees your mind and opens the door to all kinds of possibilities. Unlike astral projection, lucid dreaming is backed by scientific research. Multiple studies have shown that lucid dreaming is an actual phenomenon that differs greatly from normal dreaming. Things that you thought could only happen in mythical astral projection are actually possible through lucid dreaming. Supplements such as Lucid Dream Leaf can help you in your attempts to lucid dream. So it seems that, at least for now, unless you’re a comic book sorcerer, a member of the International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology, or a laidback YouTuber, the closest you’ll get to astral projection is lucid dreaming.
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